Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday, 2013, w/a PS

 We headed out to the mall at 7, the stores opened at 8. The kids were just a tad excited.
 That sushi restaurant on the left was packed!!  The mall itself was pretty empty, but a few stores had long lines out front, like H&M, Hollister, Victoria Secret, etc.  Disney had a short line, not bad at all, so Myles and I got in it, while the girls and papa headed down to Hollister.  We were there till 9 and the mall was packed by the time we left.

 The Disney Store made the time go by fast. They handed out their ad, then baskets, then they had an opening ceremony similar to what they do at the park in the mornings, and then it opened!
 Meanwhile, down at Hollister......Sophie did a different sort of shopping : ) He's real.  Only in CA do life guards welcome you to the stores.
 Myles was having no problems finding things he wanted, he went to the Disney Store twice, and then found what he really, really, really wanted....a seat belt animal thing.  He saw it on TV and has wanted it ever since. It velcro's onto the seat belt so you can snuggle with it and it's  a pillow, too.  Personally, I think we'd all be much happier drivers if we all had one of these things!
 Myles got that big Perry the Platypus for $16 at The Disney would have been $40 normally.  He also got Peter Pan, Miss Piggy, Eeyore in pj's, a green stuffed gecko, that seat belt friend thing, and a hex bug.
 Here's a look at all the loot. I should say that nobody spent all of their money.  In fact, as soon as they broke their big bill, they each gave us $15 to set aside so they could go ice skating.  Even with taking $15 out of their money, they still didn't spend all the rest and they got a ton.
 That's an up close look at my stash, some bracelets, glasses, headband, and purse.  Plus, today I got two books from the book store.
 That's Emma's stuff above, she really loves Hex Bugs, they are little robot bugs. These ones are special and can climb up stuff, like that track she got.
Some of Sophie's stuff, she went for movies, that parrot sweatshirt, fuzzy ear muffs, a stuffed doggy, and Bambie. That book is Emma's.

Brian also got me a vacuum.  I really did need a new one, so I was super excited!  We had talked about getting a TV because man, ours is on it's last leg....but in the end, while there were good deals on tv's themselves, when you price all the extra cables etc that you need to get it to work, it would have been spendy, so we decided to wait....until it breaks totally I guess.  I doubt it'll make it to next Black Friday.  Probably would have been smarter to get the tv now, and all the other parts as we can....but who wants to do that?? I'd rather get a purse.  And bracelets and books.

If you are thinking, "wait a minute, what did Brian get?" ....well, he is one to wait for something he really wants.  We went to the book store today to find some books he's been wanting, but they didn't carry them.  So now he thinks maybe he'll register for some races instead...but so far he's holding tight to his Black Friday $.  He did wear his new special shorts that Grandma Val got for him today and really loves them!  Thanks goes out to Grandma and Grandpa for making this a special shopping day for us.

If you are curious, we have always done the early, like 1 a.m., shopping on Friday morning, but this year with most the stores opening at 8 on Thursday night....we took the Thursday night option. We went to the mall, Old Navy (which had a line wrapped around the store that was not worth waiting in), and Target (which was busy but not super crowded).  We left the house at 7 Thursday night, and were home by 11:30.....and didn't get up until 9:30 this morning.  Much different than the whole super early Friday morning craziness, and much more enjoyable!

Hope you all had a fun Black Thur/Friday!!
PS - Did anyone else watch the Garth special on TV tonight?? Garth still has it! That was the most enjoyable thing I have watched on TV in years!!  Man, do his songs take me back. I love that he kept both Brian and I completely entertained with just his humor, songs, and a guitar.  LOVED IT!!

Black Friday post coming soon....

Goodness, we had a fun Black Friday/Thursday night!
We hit the mall - Hollister, Tilly's, Claires, Penney's, Justice, The Disney Store, a skate shop...and then Old Navy, Target, and Penney's home store where I got a vacuum that we saved $90 on!!

In fact, we are watching Disney's Planes movie right now, which was bought late last night! 

For now, here's a look at the person who scored the most, and the best deals!! He ended up with what should have been over $200 worth of goods from The Disney Store and the As Seen on TV store, for under $100, and still put away his $15 to go ice skating!  He's a good shopper!!

As a side note, have any of you seen the It's a Small World dolls that sing "It's a Small World"?  They are adorable and almost made me cry.  Its all the dolls, the hula girl, the can can dancers...all the dolls from around the world, and they all sing the song both in English and in their native language.  Yes, Brian and I pushed all the buttons so they were all singing at once. : )

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Grandma and Grandpa's Visit - Nov 2013

The kids had been so excited for this weekend!!
The weekend started off with a very rough travel day for Grandma and Grandpa, but here's a look at some of the fun we had once they did arrive!

This was at around 12 a.m. on Saturday (to tell you what kind of a day they had, they were supposed to have arrived at 8 a.m. on Friday). We were all just happy that they made it and were still smiling!!
 Saturday Morning relaxing on the sofa at Starbucks after a wonderful breakfast and some grocery shopping.
 Dad and Val really wanted to see the mountain that they always read about on the blog, and we were excited to be able to show them some of our favorite spots. We went to Mitchell Canyon on Saturday, and started off with climbing a big gravel pile.
 Then we hiked.

 Somewhere around this spot, Grandma Val and I spotted a coyote down across the ravine, and he was a cute, fuzzy one, not a scraggly looking one. (this pic is facing backwards, from where we came)

 A few rounds of air hockey were played.
 Sunday we did some site seeing in the Mill Valley and Sausalito area. This was at MHBB, Devon and Nathan Yanko's Bakery/Cafe. Devon, the blond  behind the counter, had run the Berkeley half marathon that morning and placed a speedy 4th.  The cake and cookies were delicious!!
 Boy, that cake had no idea what was about to happen to it. Myles put on his game face and attacked that thing!

Above, Grandma and the kids by Tyler Florence's restaurant in Mill Valley. Below, on the waterfront in Sausalito.
 Grandma Val got all the kids new hats and they were so excited!!

 That was eaten at the Cheesecake Factory and it was so good! Hershey's Smore's cheesecake!
 Monday morning started with breakfast at Black Bear Diner.
 Then it was back to the mountain for some more of the mountain. We went to Castle Rock this time.

 It was so great to have them out there with us. It's one thing to post pictures for our family in far away places to see, but to have them here and be able for them to experience what I mean when I talk about needing to get out on the mountain for my own "me time" and how peaceful it is was special.

We had a great visit.
We were all so happy they came down.
It was not great timing for them to be away from home (understatement) but we are so grateful that they took the time and energy to come down and spend time with us and the grand kids.
Thank you both for all the treats and good eats!
The kids hope they sent you home with a brain full of factoids!
We will be thinking of you both, and thanking you, on Friday!
We love you both much.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Quick Pic

Sophie and Grandpa hiking in Mitchell Canyon, Mt. Diablo.

Friday, November 22, 2013


 Look at these cutie pies!!
They all look so little! This was at our Georgia house, in 2006.  We used to clear the furniture in the room and blow up our air bed for them to jump on.
BTW, these have nothing to do with this post really, I am just lacking any pictures from this week to show you, so we are going retro.

 I think Myles learned in the womb to tune them out, lol. He was such a handsome baby. He still has the exact same hair.
Not much to report this week. I literally spent the entire week, minus one morning of running, cleaning. I would like to blame my dad and step mom for this, but really, it's all the little stuff that really needed done anyway, and them coming just gave me a reason to spend the time doing it.  I really didn't realize how many fake plants I had in the house until I stood for  hours washing them all in the sink, except for the trees, which got hosed down outside.  And who invented base boards??  That top edge on the base gets so dirty, but you don't notice on a day to day basis.  And the top of the fridge?? Under the microwave??  The tracks that the pantry doors slide in??  And lets not even talk about how many times I've blown the leaves off the patio in the last 2 days.  That dust at the top of the curtains?? Window sills, tops of the hutches, sofa cushion covers, book shelves.....I mean really??  Unless I just stop and close my eyes I will always find something more that I can clean.  I was so relieved to get up at 4 and head out the door to pick them up at SFO this morning. It meant I was officially done cleaning!!
Except...they were delayed an hour at first, then found out the flight was cancelled and new flight would arrive at 11:40 tonight.  I almost considered staying there all day and not coming home because I knew I'd find more stuff to clean....but realized the parking fee would be  a months salary. (wait, I don't get paid?!) 
In the meantime, BART stopped running at some point, so the drive back home was slow going, even w/reverse commute, because the traffic. The 101 I had just driven in on w/no problem was now stopped.  And, does the new Bay Bridge make anyone else dizzy or was it just the after effects of all the cleaning solution's fumes?? Those angled cables and the straight road...made me loopy!
Anyhow, we are all so excited to actually get Grandma and Grandpa here and on the ground safe and sound we can't wait!! And it really is good for me to branch out and get out of my comfort zone with what will end up being 4 trips to SFO in one week. Help us all if I get comfortable driving in the city, that would open up a whole new world!
We will still have a great time even though grandma and grandpa are starting off with a rough travel day.  I think it's probably good they didn't have to land in this wind on a small plane.  It would have been rough.
Hope you all have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Strava's Any Way 10K Challenge

Any runners out there doing this challenge this week??
I am happy to report all 3 kids are at school today, no puking this morning.  Which meant it was time to see what kind of a 10k I could lay down.  The challenge is to run a 10k this week as fast as you can.  For me, that meant finding the flattest section of trail I could find and running repeats on it. I had about a .55 stretch out and back on the Canal Trail, so I'd get a little over  a mile each time out and back.  After 2 times I added a different out and back because I was getting bored from around the 2.5 to 3 mile mark, and my pace started to go up.  After adding the variety and taking a quick second to take off my jacket and throw it towards my car as I ran by it, my pace came back down a bit and I was a happy runner again.

Interestingly, my first mile was in the 9's and the fastest.  I'm always stiff my first mile, and was doing a short, choppy stride that kept my feet under my body and a mid/fore foot landing.  It felt like a shuffle more than my usual run, but guess what?? It was faster.  When I would start to feel tired or when I'd realize I was striding out a bit, I'd make a real effort to get back to the short, shuffle stride and again, my pace would improve.  Granted, when I say improve I'm talking about seconds, but with a goal of keeping the miles anywhere in the 10 range, it made a big difference.

Anyhow, there's always a difference between my Garmin stats and my Strava stats, and to a non runner, I'm sure it seems silly to fret over a minute difference....but I was so stoked to watch my Garmin and see that I hit the 10k mark in 1:04:15!! That's a 10:23 average mile, and compared to my 12 - 15's out on the mountain, it's fast for me.  Strava has the 10k at 1:05:18.  Yes, it's only a minute, but 1:05 is different than 1:04.  1:04 is more exciting. :)  I went a bit further to make sure when I uploaded it didn't short the distance, which sometimes happens. If you click on the run in the Strava feed, check out all those miles in the 10 range!!

Anyhow, that's my excitement for the morning! If anyone else is doing the challenge, let me know!
You can see the stats on the Strava feed.

Edit. The excitement for the morning was when a delivery guy showed up at my door with a dish washer!!!  We haven't had one for...maybe 4 months now?? We rent, and love our house, so we try to be easy going tenants and not make a big deal about things.  In the rental agreement, small appliances are our responsibility to fix/replace.  So far we've bought a fridge, 2 washers, and my dad replaced our dryer when it went out.  So when the dishwasher went out...we just couldn't go buy a new one.  Weirdly enough, dishwashers are something the home owner is responsible for. So...we've been patiently waiting, willing to split the cost, or buy a rebuilt (cheap one)...anything.  But it's a luxury to have one, and we have low rent for our area, and like I say, we love our house and location, so we really try to be quiet tenants and not complain.    With no notice or anything, one was just delivered!! Now we just need to have someone come get the old one out, and put the new one in, fast...before this weekend because, if you missed it in the last post....I have family coming!!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

1/2 and 1/2

That is how our weekend ended up.

First half was great! Brian had another great long run on Saturday while we biked the second half with him.  It's fun to watch my watch to keep track of his splits while watching his stride and analyzing how one effects the other, watching to see if I can tell he's having a rough mile or feeling tired or speeding up and having a burst of energy.  FYI, is right calf is still bigger than his left, which dates back to his left achilles issue and his tooth pick in the big toe joint injury.  Anyways, it's fun to bike behind him for 8 miles and observe. : )

Sunday morning, as soon as we pulled into the parking lot for meeting (some of ya call this church, we call ours "meetings", just so you know what I'm talking about), Myles filled the middle row of the van with puke.  It was one of those double sprays, where there's one spray, then a pause, and a bigger second spray.   It was not pretty.  So, while the rest of the congregation was pulling in, we were taking up two parking spots emptying the car and getting all the puke out.  Except...he had turned his head to the side and filled the pocket on the sliding door full of puke....which Brian found a few hours later when he was cleaning the upholstery inside the van.  Sort of like a gift that keeps on giving...

Monday morning. Myles is totally fine and at school.  Emma had puked 3 times before 8 a.m. She has been fine ever since. Which is good, cuz mama's got stuff to do.  While I did not send her to school, I did throw her in the car with a puke bag on her lap and did a practice drive to the San Fran airport.  I have never driven there before, so I wanted to do a dry run before Friday when we have family coming into town.  We went through the new bore of the Caldecot Tunnel, and over the new Bay Bridge all in one drive!  Turns out the most complicated part of getting there was figuring out the parking garage.

Then - scrubbed a lot of grout in my bathroom floor, shower, and kitchen counters, cleaned a house full of ceiling fan blades, vacuumed the popcorn ceiling in the workout room, broke down a butt load of card board boxes out side (supposed to rain maybe tomorrow), cleaned the microwave and the fridge. You guys ever have family come to your house for the first time?? It'll make you realize while you always have a clean house....there's a lot of stuff that gets overlooked in the daily/weekly cleaning.  I've got a few forests full of greenery to clean. I'll be taking a tip from the Step Mom and hosing it off in the back yard.  Unless anyone has a different suggestion on how to clean fake greenery??

As for the puking,  I'm going out on a limb and guessing it'll hit Sophie in the morning.  At least this seems to be a one round of puke and then it's over type of bug.

And my car got detailed inside, so....silver lining.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Have a Great Weekend!

Wishing you all a fun, happy, relaxing weekend, from me -
 (I was thinking it would be fun to do one week's worth of post run pictures with the corresponding runs' elevation chart. Obviously, the below picture was following a tougher run than the above picture.)
from the trail-

 ...and from my trail friends!

 ( tis also a pictorial of how to respectfully pass  my trail friends when they are relaxing. I told them each how pretty they were and reminded them they are "CA happy cows", and wished them all well.)

Oh, and all the new green growth on the mountain in the burn areas would like to wish you a happy weekend, also.